Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Conservative Tells Why For America, John McCain Must Win

Let me say at the beginning that my primary concern is that John McCain and neither of the Democratic possibilities is elected the 44th president of The United States. There are many specific grounds for that concern, but there are a handful of matters that I consider not merely a question of satisfying my personal sentiments or beautifully representing conservative ideological principle, which I do think is important: I believe that clearly portraying the truth has its own power, beyond simply the power of rhetoric promulgating fear or anger. A few matters literally pose a matter of the survival of defining critical elements of American society, particularly given a relatively cooperative Congress. I will discuss these few issues, but first I want to try to establish my own conservative bona fides.

I acknowledge that there are some who will call my conservatism into question based on the mere fact that I was a supporter of Mike Huckabee. Some have embraced the argument, made mostly for personal and political reasons, that Huckabee had decided liberal tendencies. And some are reflexively repulsed by the mere fact that Huckabee expressed interest in Main Street as much as Wall Street citizens, and dared to speak with constituencies that have traditionally been dominated by Democrats, like minorities, labor unions, and educrats. But much as history may tell you otherwise, to speak with and express interest in people does not directly translate into endorsement of the policy interests that that group as a whole has traditionally supported. I am the son of a Christian pastor and the grandson of a Christian missionary. Some of you will be familiar with the idea that there is a distinction between engaging cultures with alien ideas and syncretizing your message to alien beliefs. Huckabee is not only philosophically a conservative, but he was more consistent about conservative and constitutional principle than any other candidate, save Ron Paul, with whom there were other questions. In addition, I think Huckabee was right that The Republican Party is in for a long vacation from power, if we will not even show the interest to speak with these populations. Unsurprisingly, what is a virtuous effort is also a practical advantage.

I was a delegate to Republican State Conventions in the 1990’s. But, I became exhausted with Republican compromise on conservative principle by 2000, and abandoned the Republican effort. As a matter of fact, one of the things that Republicans have dramatically failed at in the past 8 years is also one of those few critical reasons why McCain must win. Republicans completely lost their way on the expansion of federal spending and government. And as often as I disagree with his perceptions on specific issues, John McCain is especially strong on restraining non-essential government spending and growth. As just one of many examples, McCain opposed the Medicare expansion that Bush proposed and signed.

I have said before, that of the 14 candidates for the Republican nomination in 2000, McCain was my least favorite and George W. Bush was next. Honestly, I now think that ordering was a mistake. Bush was not as heterodox on as many things as McCain, but I think that’s because Bush was not as assertive about ANYTHING, and he was more politically compliant. McCain is not so. And, I disagree with him on most of the catalog of his conservative deviations: McCain-Feingold (blatantly unconstitutional), drilling in ANWR (2000 acre drilling footprint in a desolate area of a 19 million acre park), global warming (no scientific evidence or temperature history has countered the appearance that this has every earmark of being an unjustified mass-culture proliferated panic), etc…

But pretty plainly, had McCain been president, the steepest expansion of the federal government since the 60’s Johnson administration would have never happened. Unlike Bush’s, McCain’s veto pen would not have been holstered for six years. If he were not talked out of it, McCain might have forbidden the waterboarding that disclosed terrorist activities. But, that’s over anyway, since every terrorist knows that waterboarding is no real physical danger. And, McCain would not have been slack on the war on terror. No, I wish McCain were now finishing his second term, the federal government was a lot smaller, and Bush had found another job.

But as it is, the spending flood is in more urgent need of stifling with massive (frankly a feeble word) entitlement liabilities upon us. McCain is pro-life (his stem-cell confusion is now irrelevant. We don’t need embryonic stem cells) And, the balance of the federal judiciary is such that a Democratic president spells social disaster, and McCain is the right choice for a Republican win, this year.

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